Παρασκευή, 6 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News


Newly discovered insect 'Supersonus' hits animal kingdom's highest-pitch love call

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 04:09 PM PDT

In the rainforests of South America, scientists have discovered a new genus and three new species of insect with the highest ultrasonic calling songs ever recorded in the animal kingdom. Katydids (or bushcrickets) are insects known for their acoustic communication, with the male producing sound by rubbing its wings together (stridulation) to attract distant females for mating.

New targets that could increase effectiveness, reduce side effects in breast cancer treatments

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 04:07 PM PDT

New targets for potential intervention in breast cancer have been identified by researchers. These new targets could eventually increase effectiveness and reduce the undesirable side effects associated with current treatments. In addition to exploring potential new drugs for breast cancer, the researchers also hope to investigate the implications for prostate cancer, another hormone-driven disease.

Novel approach to reactivate latent HIV found

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

A new way to make latent HIV reveal itself has been discovered by scientists, which could help overcome one of the biggest obstacles to finding a cure for HIV infection. They discovered that increasing the random activity, or noise, associated with HIV gene expression -- without increasing the average level of gene expression -- can reactivate latent HIV.

YbeY is essential for fitness and virulence of V. cholerae, keeps RNA household in order

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 03:36 PM PDT

YbeY is a conserved protein that is present in most bacteria. A new study examines the function of YbeY in the cholera bacterium and reveals critical roles in RNA metabolism in this and other pathogenic bacteria.

Short nanotubes target pancreatic cancer

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:58 PM PDT

Short, customized carbon nanotubes have the potential to deliver drugs to pancreatic cancer cells and destroy them from within, according to researchers. Pristine nanotubes produced through a new process can be modified to carry drugs to tumors through gaps in blood-vessel walls that larger particles cannot fit through. The nanotubes may then target and infiltrate the cancerous cells' nuclei, where the drugs can be released through sonication -- that is, by shaking them.

Mobile DNA test for HIV under development

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Bioengineers are developing an efficient test to detect signs of HIV and its progress in patients in low-resource settings. The current gold standard to diagnose HIV in infants and to monitor viral load depends on lab equipment and technical expertise generally available only in clinics. The new research features a nucleic acid-based test that can be performed at the site of care.

Turbulent black holes: Fasten your seatbelts ... gravity is about to get bumpy!

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Gravitational fields around black holes might eddy and swirl. Fasten your seatbelts -- gravity is about to get bumpy. Of course, if you're flying in the vicinity of a black hole, a bit of extra bumpiness is the least of your worries. But it's still surprising. The accepted wisdom among gravitational researchers has been that spacetime cannot become turbulent. New research though, shows that the accepted wisdom might be wrong.

Why are older women more vulnerable to breast cancer? New clues

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

More insights into why older women are more susceptible to breast cancer has been gained by researchers. They found that as women age, the cells responsible for maintaining healthy breast tissue stop responding to their immediate surroundings, including mechanical cues that should prompt them to suppress nearby tumors.

How do phytoplankton survive scarcity of critical nutrient?

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:19 AM PDT

How do phytoplankton survive when the critical element phosphorus is difficult to find? Researchers conducted the most comprehensive survey of the content and distribution of a form of phosphorus called polyphosphate, or poly-P in the western North Atlantic. What they found was surprising.

Couples sleep in sync when wife is satisfied with their marriage

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Couples are more likely to sleep in sync when the wife is more satisfied with their marriage. Results show that overall synchrony in sleep-wake schedules among couples was high, as those who slept in the same bed were awake or asleep at the same time about 75 percent of the time. When the wife reported higher marital satisfaction, the percent of time the couple was awake or asleep at the same time was greater.

Stem cells hold keys to body's plan

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body have been discovered by researchers. This breakthrough offers promise that scientists eventually will be able to direct stem cells in ways that prevent disease or repair damage from injury or illness.

Gene study shows how sheep first separated from goats

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Scientists have cracked the genetic code of sheep to reveal how they became a distinct species from goats around four million years ago. The study is the first to pinpoint the genetic differences that make sheep different from other animals.

Sleep after learning strengthens connections between brain cells and enhances memory

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Researchers show for the first time that sleep after learning encourages the growth of dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions from brain cells that connect to other brain cells and facilitate the passage of information across synapses, the junctions at which brain cells meet.

Flowers' polarization patterns help bees find food

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Bees use their ability to 'see' polarized light when foraging for food, researchers have discovered. This is the first time bees have been found to use this ability for something other than navigation.

New EU reforms fail European wildlife, experts argue

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Despite political proclamation of increased environmental focus, experts argue that the European Union's recent agricultural reforms are far too weak to have any positive impact on the continent's shrinking farmland biodiversity, and call on member states to take action.

Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage -- a major side effect of chemotherapy -- but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

Transplanted fetal stem cells for Parkinson's show promise

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Fetal dopamine cells transplanted into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease were able to remain healthy and functional for up to 14 years, a finding that could lead to new and better therapies for the illness, researchers report. The researchers looked at the brains of five patients who got fetal cell transplants over a period of 14 years and found that their dopamine transporters (DAT), proteins that pump the neurotransmitter dopamine, and mitochondria were still healthy at the time the patients died, in each case of causes other than Parkinson's.

New isotopic evidence supporting moon formation via Earth collision with planet-sized body

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

A new series of measurements of oxygen isotopes provides increasing evidence that the moon formed from the collision of the Earth with another large, planet-sized astronomical body, around 4.5 billion years ago.

First 3-D pterosaur eggs found with their parents

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered the first three-dimensionally preserved pterosaur eggs in China. The eggs were found among dozens, if not hundreds, of pterosaur fossils, representing a new genus and species (Hamipterus tianshanensis). The discovery reveals that the pterosaurs -- flying reptiles with wingspans ranging from 25 cm to 12 m -- lived together in gregarious colonies.

Activating immune system could treat obesity, diabetes

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that is causing alarming rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but currently there is a lack of effective drug treatments. Two unrelated studies reveal an important role for immune pathways in activating good types body fat, called brown and beige fat, which burn stored calories, reduce weight, and improve metabolic health. The findings could pave the way for much-needed treatments for obesity and related metabolic diseases.

Stimulating a protein in skin cells could improve psoriasis symptoms

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Environmental contaminants can trigger psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders, and it is thought that a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, which senses environmental toxins, could play a role. A new study shows that the severity of inflammation associated with psoriasis is unexpectedly suppressed by AhR. The findings suggest that stimulation of AhR could improve symptoms and may represent a novel strategy for treating chronic inflammatory skin disorders.

A new way to make laser-like beams using 1,000 times less power

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:01 AM PDT

With precarious particles called polaritons that straddle the worlds of light and matter, researchers have demonstrated a new, practical and potentially more efficient way to make a coherent laser-like beam.

What a 66-million-year old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:01 AM PDT

As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a researchers. During an expedition in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, the team discovered the first fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology -- the regrowth of plants after a fire -- revealing a snapshot of the ecology on earth just before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

Making artificial vision look more natural

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

In laboratory tests, researchers have used electrical stimulation of retinal cells to produce the same patterns of activity that occur when the retina sees a moving object. Although more work remains, this is a step toward restoring natural, high-fidelity vision to blind people.

Chemical element bromine is essential to life in humans and other animals, researchers discover

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Twenty-seven chemical elements are considered to be essential for human life. Now there is a 28th: bromine. In a new paper, researchers establish for the first time that bromine, among the 92 naturally-occurring chemical elements in the universe, is the 28th element essential for tissue development in all animals, from primitive sea creatures to humans.

New method reveals single protein interaction key to embryonic stem cell differentiation

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

A new method to simplify the study of protein networks has been pioneered by researchers. Through the use of synthetic proteins, they revealed a key interaction that regulates the ability of embryonic stem cells to change into other cell types. "Our work suggests that the apparent complexity of protein networks is deceiving, and that a circuit involving a small number of proteins might control each cellular function," said the senior author.

Interactive teaching methods help students master tricky calculus

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

The key to helping students learn complicated math is to understand how to apply it to new ideas and make learning more interactive, according to a new study. Pre-class assignments, small group discussions and clicker quizzes improve students' ability to grasp tricky first-year calculus concepts.

Overcoming barriers to successful use of autonomous unmanned aircraft

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

While civil aviation is on the threshold of potentially revolutionary changes with the emergence of increasingly autonomous unmanned aircraft, these new systems pose serious questions about how they will be safely and efficiently integrated into the existing civil aviation structure, says a new report.

Can mice mimic human breast cancer? Study says 'yes'

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

Many of the various models used in breast cancer research can replicate several characteristics of the human disease, especially at the gene level, researchers report. "There are definitely clear parallels between mice and men in relation to breast cancer and this study provides legitimacy to using these models so ultimately a cure can be found," one researcher said.

Race could be a factor in head, neck cancer survival rates

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

The national survival rates for African-Americans diagnosed with head and neck cancer have not improved in the last 40 years despite advances in the treatment and management of the disease, researchers have found. The researchers suggest that inherent genetic factors in African-Americans may make some tumors resistant to treatments. However, more research needs to be done on the subject of survival disparity in patients with head and neck cancer.

Continuous terahertz sources at room temperature demonstrated by scientists

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:37 AM PDT

A room-temperature, compact, continuous terahertz radiation source has been developed for the first time by a team of scientists. This discovery will make terahertz radiation more accessible for experiments, potentially leading to advances in biosensing, homeland security, and space research.

Toward a better drug against malaria

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:36 AM PDT

Structural biologists explain on the molecular level, how the drug atovaquone acts on the pathogen of malaria. Malaria is one of the most dangerous tropical diseases in the world. Anopheles mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium species -- unicellular parasites -- transmit the disease by biting. Atovaquone blocks a protein of the respiratory chain in the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, thus killing off the parasites. However, the pathogen is susceptible to mutations so that drug resistant strains are arising and spreading.

Molecular secret of short, intense workouts clarified

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:35 AM PDT

The benefits of short, intense workouts have been extolled as a metabolic panacea for greater overall fitness, better blood sugar control and weight reduction. Scientists confirm something is molecularly unique about intense exercise: the activation of a single protein. The new findings open the door to a range of potential exercise enhancements.

Hot spots for molecules: Ultra-high sensitivity molecular detection

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 08:33 AM PDT

The accurate placement of molecules into gaps between gold nanoantennas enables ultra-high sensitivity molecular detection. The ability to detect tiny quantities of molecules is important for chemical sensing as well as biological and medical diagnostics. In particular, some of the most challenging and advanced applications involve rare compounds for which only a few molecules may be present at a time. The most promising devices for achieving ultrahigh-precision detection are nanoscale sensors, where molecules are placed in tiny gaps between small gold plates.

A sand-dwelling new species of the moonseed plant genus Cissampelos from the Americas

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 07:08 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered in dry forests and transient sand dunes in Bolivia and Paraguay, a new plant species in the moonseed family Menispermaceae.

Design of self-assembling protein nanomachines starts to click: A nanocage builds itself from engineered components

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Biological systems produce an incredible array of self-assembling protein tools on a nanoscale, such as molecular motors, delivery capsules and injection devices. Inspired by sophisticated molecular machines naturally found in living things, scientists want to build their own with forms and functions customized to tackle modern day challenges. A new computational method, proven to accurately design protein nanomaterials that arrange themselves into a symmetrical, cage-like structure, may be an important step toward that goal.

Rhythmic brain activity used to track memories in progress

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Using EEG electrodes attached to the scalps of 25 student subjects, researchers have tapped the rhythm of memories as they occur in near real time in the human brain. The new findings show that EEG measures of synchronized neural activity can precisely track the contents of memory at almost the speed of thought, the lead investigator said.

Research on marijuana's negative health effects summarized in report

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

The current state of science on the adverse health effects of marijuana use links the drug to several significant adverse effects including addiction, a review reports. The review describes the science establishing that marijuana can be addictive and that this risk for addiction increases for daily or young users. It also offers insights into research on the gateway theory indicating that marijuana use, similar to nicotine and alcohol use, may be associated with an increased vulnerability to other drugs.

Healthy tissue grafted to brains of Huntington's patients also develops the disease

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Healthy human tissue grafted to the brains of patients with Huntington's disease in the hopes of treating the neurological disorder also developed signs of the illness, several years after the graft, a study shows. This discovery will have profound implications on our understanding of the disease and how to treat it, and may also lead to the development of new therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.

Protecting mainland Europe from an invasion of grey squirrels

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

The first genotyping of grey squirrels sampled from Italy and the UK shows a direct link between their genetic diversity and their ability to invade new environments. Grey squirrels are an invasive species introduced from North America. While they are common throughout most of the UK and Ireland, on mainland Europe they are currently only found in Italy, where they mostly exist in discrete, but slowly expanding, populations.

New ball to showcase talent in World Cup

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Physics experts believe the new soccer ball created for the 2014 FIFA World Cup starting next week is a "keepers' ball". The new ball, called Brazuca, should be much more predictable than the 2010 World Cup ball, Jabulani, which was less-than-affectionately labelled a 'beach ball' because of its sometimes erratic flight path.

Looking for the best strategy? Ask a chimp

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:35 AM PDT

If you're trying to outwit the competition, it might be better to have been born a chimpanzee, according to a new study which found that chimps consistently outperform humans in simple contests drawn from game theory.

Report supports shutdown of all high seas fisheries

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:34 AM PDT

Fish and aquatic life living in the high seas are more valuable as a carbon sink than as food and should be better protected, according to new research. The study found fish and aquatic life remove 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, a service valued at about $148 billion US. This dwarfs the $16 billion US paid for 10 million tons of fish caught on the high seas annually.

Use of gestures reflects language instinct in young children

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:34 AM PDT

Young children instinctively use a 'language-like' structure to communicate through gestures. Research suggests when young children are asked to use gestures to communicate, their gestures segment information and reorganize it into language-like sequences. This suggests that children are not just learning language from older generations, their preference for communication has shaped how languages look today.

Elucidating pathogenic mechanism of meningococcal meningitis

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:30 AM PDT

Neisseria meningitidis, also called meningococcus, is a bacterium responsible for meningitis and septicemia. Its most serious form, purpura fulminans, is often fatal. This bacterium, which is naturally present in humans in the nasopharynx, is pathogenic if it reaches the blood stream. Teams of scientists have deciphered the molecular events through which meningococci target blood vessels and colonize them. This work opens a path to new therapeutic perspectives for treating vascular problems caused by this type of invasive infection.

Basis of allergic reaction to birch pollen identified

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

In Austria alone around 400,000 people are afflicted by a birch pollen allergy and its associated food intolerances. Why so many people have allergic reactions to birch pollen has still not been completely explained. It is known that a certain birch pollen protein causes an overreaction of the immune system. Researchers have now discovered what makes this protein an allergen, that is, an allergy trigger.

Doing more means changing less when it comes to gene response, new study shows

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

The more biological functions a gene has, the less it responds to environmental change, a team of researchers has discovered, based on work focused on thermally-adapted fish populations. "In addition to having important implications for climate change adaptation, these findings could radically change the way we study gene responses to any external stimulus like for example to drug treatments," the authors suggest.

Severe intellectual disability diagnosed by analysis of entire genome

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

With a new technique, which at once studies the whole genome, a genetic cause can be identified in six out of ten children with severe intellectual disability. This makes the method more successful than all the usual methods together. Moreover, almost all mental impairments are caused by new mutations that have not yet occurred in father or mother.

Molecular self-assembly scales up from nanometers to millimeters

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:29 AM PDT

To ensure the survival of Moore's law and the success of the nanoelectronics industry, alternative patterning techniques that offer advantages beyond conventional top-down patterning are aggressively being explored. Can self-assembly based technologies offer advantages beyond conventional top-down lithography approaches?

Are squiggly lines the future of password security?

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:32 PM PDT

As more people use smart phones and tablets to store personal information and perform financial transactions, the need for robust password security is more critical than ever. A new study shows that free-form gestures -- sweeping fingers in shapes across the screen -- can be used to unlock phones and grant access to apps. These gestures are less likely to be observed and reproduced by 'shoulder surfers' who spy on users to gain unauthorized access.

Brain protein may explain depression in pre-menopausal women

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:31 PM PDT

Women nearing menopause have higher levels of a brain protein linked to depression than both younger and menopausal women, a new study shows. This finding may explain the high rates of first-time depression seen among women in this transitional stage of life, known as perimenopause. The results suggest new opportunities for prevention, says one researcher.

Sea star disease epidemic surges in oregon, local extinctions expected

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:31 PM PDT

Just in the past two weeks, the incidence of sea star wasting syndrome has exploded along the Oregon Coast and created an epidemic of historic magnitude, one that threatens to decimate Oregon's entire population of purple ochre sea stars. Prior to this, Oregon had been the only part of the West Coast that had been largely spared this devastating disease.

New antibiotic proven effective to treat acute bacterial skin infections

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:31 PM PDT

The antibiotic dalbavancin is as effective as vancomycin, the current standard-of-care antibiotic used to treat serious bacterial skin and skin-structure infections, research shows. The study results establish dalbavancin as a therapy for Staphylococcus aureus infections, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA.

Faster DNA sleuthing saves critically ill boy

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:31 PM PDT

A 14-year-old boy's turnaround and quick recovery after mysteriously being stricken by brain-inflaming encephalitis -- which led to him being hospitalized for six weeks and put into a medically induced coma after falling critically ill -- shows that the newest generation of DNA analysis tools can be harnessed to reveal the cause of a life-threatening infection even when physicians have no suspects.

Habitat loss on breeding grounds cause of monarch decline, study finds

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Habitat loss on breeding grounds in the United States -- not on wintering grounds in Mexico -- is the main cause of recent and projected population declines of migratory monarch butterflies in eastern North America, according to new research. Milkweed is the only group of plants that monarch caterpillars feed upon before they develop into butterflies. Industrial farming contributed to a 21-per-cent decline in milkweed plants between 1995 and 2013, and much of this loss occurred in the central breeding region.

Air pollution linked to irregular heartbeat, lung blood clots

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat -- a risk factor for stroke -- and blood clots in the lung, finds a large study. The evidence suggests that high levels of certain air pollutants are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, but exactly how this association works has not been clarified.

Divorce may be linked to higher risk of overweight/obesity among kids involved

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Divorce may be linked to a higher risk of overweight and obesity among children affected by the marital split, suggests research. These children were 54% more likely to be overweight/obese and 89% more likely to be (abdominally) obese. Children whose parents had never married had a similar prevalence of overweight and obesity to those with married parents.

Crooning in the concrete jungle: Taiwan's frogs use drains to amplify mating calls

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

As our cities continue to grow many animal species have to choose to abandon their changing habitats or adapt to their new setting. In Taiwan the tiny mientien tree frog (Kurixalus diootocus) is making the most of its new situation by using city storm drains to amplify mating calls.

First intact skull of Mediterranean worm lizard found: Skull of new species sheds light on Mediterranean worm lizard evolution

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

The first intact skull of a Mediterranean worm lizard has been found in Spain, according to a new study. Only isolated fragments of fossil Mediterranean worm lizards have previously been found in Europe, and currently, our limited knowledge of their evolution is mainly based on molecular studies. The worm lizard is a limbless, scaled reptile and categorized in the genus Blanus in the Mediterranean.

Feeding increases coral transplant survival

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Feeding juvenile corals prior to transplantation into a new reef may increase their survival. The global decline of coral reefs and the loss of associated ecological services have necessitated immediate intervention measures to try to reverse their further deterioration. Scientists have attempted to recolonize damaged reefs by transplanting juvenile corals, but the survival of young corals on the reef remained low.

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